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Triple talaq: What do Muslim women want?
There can be no two opinions that triple talaq is an unjust and inhuman religious tradition that must be eradicated. Although, it wouldn't be the first one to be eradicated.

A number of inhuman socio-religious practices against Hindu women have been eradicated in the past. The Congress party and the Indian intelligentsia collaborated with the British Raj to stop the practice of sati, burning of the wives on the funeral pyre of the husband.

Polygamy is now passe in the Hindu society. Earlier there was no concept of divorce. "Doli jayegi aur arthi ayegi" (bride will go to her in-laws and only her dead body will return) was the popular doctrine. So, there was no provision of alimony or maintenance for a divorced wife. Hindu women had no right to ancestral property. The Congress party legislated against these ills and child marriage etc. It encouraged widow re-marriage. It stopped polygamy in Hindu society and provided for maintenance of divorced Hindu women. However, it is a mystery, why what is good for Hindu women is not good for Muslim women?

Modi ji's master stroke of championing for the rights of Muslim women including abolishing triple talaq, provision for alimony and property rights must be applauded by all right thinking Indians. It may have been motivated by the desire to destroy the Muslim vote bank of the opposition parties. But that does not make his action bad or undesirable. It worked very well in UP and Gujarat elections when 51 per cent of Muslim votes went to the BJP.

The BJP is about to introduce a bill which seeks to criminalize triple talaq and provide for a punishment of three years for the offence. Muslim Personal Law Board (MPLB), some Muslim women's organizations and Trinamool Congress have denounced the move and asked the BJP to withdraw the Bill. Other opposition political parties are in a confused huddle to decide how to tackle the situation.

What do Muslim women want?

There is no doubt that triple talaq is unjust. What is a woman, who has left the security of her family to give herself to an unknown man and his family, suddenly given a divorce over a telephone or email, may be in the middle of the night supposed to do? Where does she go? How does she feed and clothe herself? Why should Indian society allow this injustice, this inhuman act? But should we not hear what the Muslim women have to say? Why can't opinion polls be conducted in various Muslim majority areas on the various provisions of the bill? In fact, a referendum should be held where only Muslim women be allowed to vote to determine what they want.

Why delay implementation of the law if passed?

Some organizations are pleading for more time to examine the provisions. What is the purpose of this delay? Is it to enable Muslim men to put women past their prime on to the streets without maintenance? Or is it to enable Muslim men to divorce their wives to marry again and get another dowry?

Vote bank politics will not work

Political parties must understand that Muslim vote bank is now dead. It died when the BJP opposed triple talaq. The Muslim Personal Law Board consisting of over aged male chauvinist politicians or the mullahs have no political power. Fatwas issued by Muslim clerics including the Shahi Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid could not prevent the BJP from steam rolling Mulayam's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's BSP in UP. Opposition parties must understand that if Muslim women become permanent BJP vote banks, BJP will rule India for at least the next 50 years. Opposition parties must not discard natural justice and fair play in the hope of electoral gains. If they do, they will not only be rejected by Muslim women but also young India. They must support immediate banning of triple talaq.

Conclusion

All women of India must enjoy the same rights irrespective of their religion or caste and must enjoy the right to education, healthcare, employment opportunity, protection from social and domestic violence and alimony in case of divorce. Former Prime Minister late Rajiv Gandhi erred when dealing with the Shah Bano case. If the Congress repeats the same mistake by not supporting the triple talaq bill, it will become history.

BJP's efforts to stop the practice of triple talaq and to make it mandatory for Muslim men to pay maintenance to their divorced wives as per the law of the land in case of divorce has to be lauded and supported by all. My humble request to the BJP is to hold an all India referendum for Muslim women to dispel doubts as to what Muslim women want and to shut the mouths of Muslim Personal Law Board, the Mullahs and pro Muslim political parties for ever.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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